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Hands-on Gear Review

Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody - Women's Review

Price:   $259 List | $128.83 at REI
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Attractive style, longer arms and torso, breathable, durable construction
Cons:  Does not stuff into itself, hood does not cinch, small pockets
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx

Our Verdict

A breathable mid-layer that's great for aerobic activity on chilly days, the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody is also a perfect stand-alone piece for warmer conditions and a stylish jacket to toss on before running errands. We were impressed by the Atom LT's durability, breathability, and sleek styling, but disappointed that it doesn't pack down into a pocket or stuff sack so we could clip it to a harness while alpine rock climbing. Designed to be more breathable than the average insulated jacket, this hybrid hoody features gusseted fleece underarm panels that wick away sweat and allow for increased mobility. However, it sacrifices some warmth and wind resistance for breathability. A lighter weight version of the Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's, the Atom LT has less insulation and features fleecy side panels, while the AR has a similar Tyono shell fabric (30D vs. 20D) throughout the torso with lots of locked in warmth.

For the ultimate in breathability, be sure to consider our Top Pick for Breathability, the Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Insulated Jacket for Women Review


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Amanda Fenn
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
November 24, 2015

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A breathable jacket that is perfect for a mid-day skate ski or hike, the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody features a stylish design and makes a great stand-alone piece on warmer days.

Performance Comparison


Getting stoked on early season skiing in the San Juan Mountains! Annie dons the Atom LT  wearing it both up the skin trail and down the mountain.
Getting stoked on early season skiing in the San Juan Mountains! Annie dons the Atom LT, wearing it both up the skin trail and down the mountain.

Warmth


Made with 60 g/m2 Coreloft insulation, this hoody features a shell of Tyono 20D stretch nylon ripstop fabric and two panels of Polartec Power Stretch fleece with Hardface Technology. It has a cinch cord at its hemline and a snug insulated hood. One of the main benefits of this jacket is that offers a little extra breathability; however, due to its breathability, it compromises a bit on warmth. The outer shell fabric gives the Atom LT an airy feel, while the fleecy panels under the arms offer maximum coziness and breathability. Overall, this jacket was not quite as warm as the Rab Strata Hoody - Women's (one of the other hyper breathable insulated jackets we checked out).

On the other hand, if you love the styling and features of the Atom LT, but want a little extra warmth, consider the Arc'teryx Atom AR, which has thicker insulation and does not have fleece side panels. If you're looking for a jacket without so much breathability and a little more warmth, check out our Editors' Choice, the Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's.

Unlike the Arc'teryx Atom AR  the Atom LT does not provide quite as much warmth. Here  it's the perfect layer for a not-so-cold spring day in the desert.
Unlike the Arc'teryx Atom AR, the Atom LT does not provide quite as much warmth. Here, it's the perfect layer for a not-so-cold spring day in the desert.

Compressibility & Weight


Our biggest single complaint with the Atom LT is that is doesn't compress into one of its own pockets. Almost every other jacket in our review either packed into a pocket or came with a stuff sack that could be clipped onto a harness or backpack. This jacket weighed in at 11.3 ounces on our scale, which was a little heavier than ultralight jackets in our review like the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket - Women's or Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket - Women's.

Compression isn't the LT's strong suit - and the weight is a little heavier than most. That said  we didn't have to take it off much to stuff it into a bag  so it wasn't really an issue.
Compression isn't the LT's strong suit - and the weight is a little heavier than most. That said, we didn't have to take it off much to stuff it into a bag, so it wasn't really an issue.

Weather Resistance


Like most of the jackets in this review, the Atom LT has a DWR finish that repels water, but won't keep you dry during heavy rain. That said, it was more weather resistant than the Outdoor Research Uberlayer - Women's or the Outdoor Research Cathode. We found that when droplets hit the Atom LT, they beaded up and dispersed fairly well. When biking to work on cold winter mornings, the wind didn't cut through the face fabric either. The fleece side panels repelled a bit of water, thanks to the Hardface Technology.

Most of the main fabric has a continuous shell design with a DWR finish  causing water to bead up in a light rain. However  remember that this jacket also has breathable side panels.
Most of the main fabric has a continuous shell design with a DWR finish, causing water to bead up in a light rain. However, remember that this jacket also has breathable side panels.

Comfort & Coziness


Our testers really liked the cozy fleece panels under the arms of the Atom LT. These not only feel soft and touchable, but allow sweat to wick away, keeping temperature regulated and your armpits from getting swampy. Additionally, these panels - along with the jacket's gusseted underarms and the shell's stretchy fabric - allow for fantastic mobility.

This jacket has a fleecy internal layer that kept our testers warm and cozy in cold weather.
This jacket has a fleecy internal layer that kept our testers warm and cozy in cold weather.

The jacket's snug and cozy hood fits well under a helmet, but sadly does not cinch down. The stretch knit cuffs of the jacket add to the sophisticated styling of this piece and feel nice on the wrists, however, some of our testers reported that the tighter cuffs didn't allow them to push up the sleeves as high as they would have liked. Finally, we appreciated the Atom's internal chest pocket and its fleece-lined hand pockets, but wished they were little deeper.

There were many cozy features to the Atom LT  except the pockets. Like other Arc'teryx jackets we've tested  the hand warmer pockets are just too small.
There were many cozy features to the Atom LT, except the pockets. Like other Arc'teryx jackets we've tested, the hand warmer pockets are just too small.

Breathability


As mentioned above, the Atom LT stands out as a breathable jacket with a continuous face fabric and stretchy side panels. These side panels allow warm air to escape when hiking uphill and prevent you from feeling too hot. Even though its breathability is on par with the Rab Strata, other jackets like the Patagonia Nano Air (Our Top Pick for Breathability) are better suited for highly aerobic activities like cold morning runs or high-paced mountain sports. The Atom is more suited for medium aerobic activities on cold days like backcountry skiing.

The side panels are breathable  yet weather resistant.
The side panels are breathable, yet weather resistant.

Style & Fit


Arc'teryx is known for its sleek styling, awesome colors, and slim athletic fit, so we weren't surprised at all when we slipped on the Atom LT and felt just a little sexier.

At the top end of outdoor chic, this jacket is flattering through the torso and fits slightly longer-armed ladies perfectly. Those with broader shoulders might experience a bit of snugness, especially with layers on underneath, but with the stretch fabric, we didn't find the slight tightness to be demobilizing in the least. The torso falls at hip length and its hand pockets blend right into the jacket's design.

Finally, the fleece panels under the arms provide a two-toned contrast that adds interest to this super cool piece. One of the only other jackets that rivaled the Arc'teryx Atom LT in style was the Columbia Kaleidaslope II Jacket - Women's, which has far fewer technical attributes than the Atom LT.

Hiking out after our first ski of the year. The line behind Annie was inspiring  safe  fun  and exhilarating! Onto the next adventure  in the Atom LT Hoody!
Hiking out after our first ski of the year. The line behind Annie was inspiring, safe, fun, and exhilarating! Onto the next adventure in the Atom LT Hoody!

Best Applications


Thanks to its attractive fit, our testers felt stylish using this hoody around town. They also felt badass taking it into the backcountry. This jacket is designed to perform during cardio activities and will keep you warm while regulating temperature and wicking away moisture. Wear it as a mid-layer while ice climbing or wear it as an outer layer during a sunny day of backcountry skiing. We just wished that it packed down and zipped up into its own pocket so it would be truly useable as an alpine rock climbing piece.

The Atom LT provides a lot of mobility when you need it! Its great for cool weather climbing.
The Atom LT provides a lot of mobility when you need it! Its great for cool weather climbing.

Value


The hooded version of the Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody is $249. Unlike several of the other insulated jackets that we reviewed, the Atom LT didn't get any snags or tears throughout our testing process. Our testers wore this piece crack climbing and put it to the test while bushwhacking for biology research and the Atom LT endured beautifully. The outer shell is surprisingly abrasion-resistant despite its seemingly fragile feel.

The continuous shell design in combination with fantastic craftsmanship are two main ingredients for a high quality and value jacket.
The continuous shell design in combination with fantastic craftsmanship are two main ingredients for a high quality and value jacket.

The stitching is also very tight, which also helped prevent unwanted snags. Overall, our testers really appreciated the solid construction of this piece and wish that other manufacturers would follow suit with high quality stitching that will remain intact for the long haul. Given this jacket's versatility, craftsmanship, and lifetime warranty, we think it's well worth the money.

Conclusion


We loved this hoody's flattering design and breathable performance. It is a perfect stand-alone piece on warmer spring or fall days, and a great lightweight mid-layer in colder weather. Take it skiing, hiking, camping, or ice climbing - it will serve you well on many missions to come.

Pondering the next big adventure alongside a nice view  great music  and a good beer.
Pondering the next big adventure alongside a nice view, great music, and a good beer.

Other Versions


Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody
  • Cost - $219
  • The men's version of this jacket

ARc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's
Arc'teryx Gamma MX Hoody - Women's
  • Cost - $350
  • Editors' Choice Award for women's softshells
Amanda Fenn

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Most recent review: November 24, 2015
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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